MEN’S BASKETBALL | Yale seeks revenge against Bears

The Bulldogs shot just 32.8 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from beyond the arc in last Saturday’s conference-opening loss to Brown.
The Bulldogs shot just 32.8 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from beyond the arc in last Saturday’s conference-opening loss to Brown. Photo by Sari Levy.

Opening its conference slate in Providence last Saturday, the men’s basketball team learned firsthand the truth of its opponent’s reputation: the Brown Bears can shoot.

While the Bears shot only 45.3 percent from the field overall, they drained eight 3-pointers and shot 40 percent from downtown. Brown’s strong shooting display, coupled with the Elis’ rough night on offense, carried the Bears (7–8, 1–0 Ivy) to a 65–51 win.

The Bulldogs (6–12, 0–1 Ivy) will have an immediate chance for redemption, as the two teams square off again on Saturday. This time, however, the Elis will compete at home in John J. Lee Amphitheater in their home conference opener.

“They shoot a lot of 3s, and when they make them, they win,” team captain Sam Martin ’13 said. “If we guard the 3-point line, we should be good.”

While the Bears put up solid offensive stats on Saturday, the Elis struggled with the ball in their hands. The team shot 32.8 percent from the floor overall, nearly 9 percentage points below its season average. Perhaps more frustrating was the squad’s dismal long-range performance, especially given its opponents’ success from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs converted four out of 22 attempted 3-point shots, a conversion rate of only 18.2 percent.

Yet Martin noted a number of takeaways from last weekend’s game that the Elis will look to use to improve this weekend. The Elis will heighten their defensive focus on Bears guard Sean McGonagill, who used pick and rolls to open up the floor and create open shots for many of his teammates last weekend. McGonagill finished last weekend’s game with 20 points on 8–15 shooting and added four assists.

“Everything really starts with him on their team, so if we can do a good job of containing him, guys won’t get open looks and hopefully he won’t go for as many points as he did last week,” Martin said.

Offensively, head coach James Jones expressed frustration over the Elis’ lacking ball movement after last Saturday’s game — movement that led to a total of only four assists that day. Martin said that the Elis would often run plays but became stagnant on offense when the play ended; typically, the team goes into its motion set if its initial play does not lead to a shot.

Brown also challenged the Bulldogs on offensive inbounds plays, on which the Bears played man-to-man defensively. Most of Yale’s opponents this year have played zone defense on inbounds plays.

Martin said that the team has been working on inbounding against man-to-man defenses. He added that the coaches have stressed moving the ball on offense during practice.

“We’ve been getting points in practice for ball reversals,” Martin said. “I think we’ll be better on Saturday moving the ball and getting guys moving a little bit.”

Still, the Elis have spent the week adjusting in preparation for the quick rematch.

“We’re gonna come out hungry on Saturday,” forward Greg Kelley ’14 said. “The Bulldogs are gonna eat.”

The game will tip off at 2 p.m. at John J. Lee Amphitheater.

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